Sports

Roma wins maiden Europa Conference League title

By Oviri Kelvin

…As Mourinho becomes first manager to win UEFA trophies with four different clubs

Roma defeated Feyenoord 1-0 to win the first UEFA Europa Conference League title and the fifth UEFA trophy for Jose Mourinho at the Air Albania Stadium, Albania.

The Italian club, who last won a continental title in the old Fairs Cup in 1961, clinched their first UEFA trophy, thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo’s 32-minute goal to hand Mourinho’s side the lead and the eventual win.

Feyenoord failed to take their chances in the game as they played dominantly to win their fourth European trophy after 20 years but created fewer goal-bound chances against a highly defensive I Giallorossi.

This triumph by Jose Mourinho with Roma, maintains his unbeaten run in major UEFA finals, dignifying him as the first coach to win UEFA titles with four different European clubs.

The excited Mourinho after the victory expressed that despite winning the UEFA trophy with Porto, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and now Roma, his career has been very special to him.

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The Portuguese gaffer underlined that besides Giovanni Trapattoni and Sir Alex Ferguson, he has joined this crop of managers who won the UEFA title in three different decades.

“The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma are very, very, very special,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“It is one thing to win when everyone expects it when you made the investments to win, but it’s quite another to win when something feels immortal, that feels truly special.

“This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine. I was told only I, Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades. It makes me feel a little old, but it’s nice for my career,” the Roma boss added.

Furthermore, the victory in the Europa Conference League has capped Roma’s season with a remarkable finish instigating the Mourinho to rebuff any rumour of an exit to commit his future to the club’s project for next season.

Mourinho continued: “Now I am staying, there are no doubts.

“Even if some rumours emerge, I only want to remain at Roma.

“We must understand what our owners, who are fantastic people, want to do next season because this is history, but we can build a really strong project with honest professionals.

“Of course, I feel like a Romanista, but that might be my way of working. I am a Porto fan, an Inter fan, a Chelsea fan, I am crazy about Real Madrid, I am now a Roma fan, I belong to all those clubs because we had these moments together,” the Roma boss explained.

Meanwhile, former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling was a rock in AS Roma’s defence, warding off attacks from Feyenoord while keeping De Stadionclub loanee Cyriel Dessers at bay.

Smalling whose performance for Roma would earn him a start in Manchester United’s backline was named the Man of the Match.

“We knew how much it was going to mean for everyone at Roma. Everyone fought until the end. We dropped a bit deeper than we wanted to and everyone was fighting,” Smalling told BT Sport.

“Even when I first came to the club it was a long time since Roma had won a trophy. We knew how much it was going to mean to win something,” the defender added.

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